Getting into Apple IIGS

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Greetings!
I am a soon to be happy owner of an Apple IIGS. It's just the base unit without drives or keyboard. The latter I got covered as I have a keyboard and mouse from my Mac Classic.

As for mass storage, I'm considering my options. If I am going to use the GS OS, is a proper hard drive a necessity? I've been looking at the SDisk II, which connects to the 20-pin connector of a floppy drive controller. Can the connecting cable simply be converted for the 19-pin floppy deive connector of the IIGS or do I need an adapter of sorts?

Thanks!
Tero

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

You need to determine what revision the Apple IIGS is first. Hopefully, you'll have a revision 01 or 3 - those are the most common.

If you want to use GS/OS, the first thing you should buy or acquire is a RAM card - 4MB is plenty and easy to find.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

protek wrote:

Greetings!
I am a soon to be happy owner of an Apple IIGS. It's just the base unit without drives or keyboard. The latter I got covered as I have a keyboard and mouse from my Mac Classic.

As for mass storage, I'm considering my options. If I am going to use the GS OS, is a proper hard drive a necessity? I've been looking at the SDisk II, which connects to the 20-pin connector of a floppy drive controller. Can the connecting cable simply be converted for the 19-pin floppy deive connector of the IIGS or do I need an adapter of sorts?

Thanks!
Tero

Floppy Drives are fairly easy to get, Hard Drives and the Controllers are Not...

Try the CFFA3000. Basically a Solid State Hard Drive..

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Thanks for the answers! Based on the description, mine's a ROM 01. Have to start looking for the RAM at some point. The CFFA is an interesting piece of device, a bit expensive though.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I'd go with the 4megGS card from Vince Briel. Very good deal. You can buy just the card and supply your own ram.

Card:
http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/?cat=33

RAM:
http://www.memoryx.com/aam.html

I bought RAM from memoryx a couple of years ago for my 4megGS card at 98 cents per stick. Looks like the price has gone up somewhat, but I've not had any problems out of it. $2.98 currently.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

The 4megGS looks a pretty good deal. Does it take 30 pin SIMMs? I happen to have a few of those although I'm not sure if they're 1 MB.

Edit: Seems to be 30 pin based on your second link.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

It does. I don't recall the exact requirements but the link I provided earlier goes to a stick that has the exact specifications of the sticks I use in my 4megGS card.

You'd need to be aware of parity and speed.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Hard Drive Solutions in my recommended order :-
CFFA3000 (Compact Flash or USB Drive)
Focus Hard Drive controller from 16sector (IDE drive or Compact Flash)
Micro Drive IDE Card from Ultimateapple2.com (IDE Drive or Compact Flash)
SCSI Card and Drive - Difficult to get hold of and will be very expensive.
Other dedicated (old school) card and drives - Difficult to get hold of and will be very expensive. May be difficult for novice to get going and high chance of failure.

Floppy Drive Solution (cheaper solution but more cumbersome to use and limited in the software you can run).
Purchase a 5.25 and/or 3.5 inch floppy drive with the 19pin plug and some floppy disks. You can use ADTPro or Online Apple2 Disk Server to transfer images onto your disks.

Emulated Solutions (Hard Drive, Floppy Drive, Serial Port, Speaker Port, Joystick Port)
See my post with mass storage solutions. lukazi.blogspot.com.au

Good luck.

Alex.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

lukazi wrote:

CFFA3000 (Compact Flash or USB Drive)

Definitely a superb piece of hardware in this day and age. I'd suggest a male to female USB extension cable. The added convenience can't go unnoticed.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Thanks for your insight, guys! Having studied the CFFA3000 a bit further, it really seems the most versatile and in the long run best bang for buck solution for my IIGS. It seems to be currently out of stock so I have time to save up for the next run.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

protek wrote:

Thanks for your insight, guys! Having studied the CFFA3000 a bit further, it really seems the most versatile and in the long run best bang for buck solution for my IIGS. It seems to be currently out of stock so I have time to save up for the next run.

In the mean time, get yourself a Serial Cable to connect the ][gs to a Male DE-9, and download ADTPro and Some Floppy Disks and Floppy Drives.

You can experience the Truly Retro..

MarkO

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I contacted Rich. He estimates the next run probably be early 2015. Have to do some serious thinking.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

You could always keep an eye out on the various reseller channels. I've seen CFFA3000's come up a couple times.

I was going to point you to the Apple II Pi but it is also currently out of stock.

I guess short-term you could do as mentioned before and go with old school floppies. ADTPro is a great tool and floppies, while fragile and sometimes cumbersome, really give you a better appreciation for what these computers were really like back in the day.

If you get the 4megGS card, I wonder if you could use it as a RAM disk with ADTPro?

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I would also recommend the Nishida's Unisdisk as an alternative SD Card drive: cheaper, Smartport compatible, does not require a slot, reads most formats and drive sizes, and works well on the IIgs, //c and IIe with drive card. I use it on my system and mount 32MB images, since I didn't have drives for it.

http://tulip-house.ddo.jp/DIGITAL/UNISDISK/english.html

Cheers
Javster

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

The Unisdisk seems also a good solution. It would work for me for the time being.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I got the IIGS yesterday. It had survived the trip across the Atlantic intact. I powered it up via stepdown converter and heard a couple of chimes. Nothing on the screen via composite though but that may just be the display. Have to try it in a different display and also make an RGB to Scart cable. The composite outputs NTSC, I presume?

I've placed an order for the Unisdisk and probably will also make a cable for ADTPro.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Protek, I'm going to share my little experience with the IIg: I bought two, and wanted to use them with my composite port on both an LCD and TV i have. the monitors work flawless on Apple IIc and IIe, but the gs displays very bad, sometimes flickering, wrong colors, etc. mostly on gs stuff, Apple II programs (like Karateka) shows fine.
So if you plan to use it for IIgs programs you better get a SCART adapter and cable, or get a IIgs monitor. Other option is to get the RGB Component adapter from Nishida if you have the correspondent monitor.

Hope this helps
Javster

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Thanks for sharing your experiences Javster. I'm planning to make an RGB to Scart cable to get a better picture.

I had to set the GS to output at 50 Hz to get a picture to show on the LCD display. Luckily my TV supports NTSC so I was able to see the settings.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

javster wrote:

the monitors work flawless on Apple IIc and IIe, but the gs displays very bad, sometimes flickering, wrong colors, etc. mostly on gs stuff, Apple II programs (like Karateka) shows fine.

I have one of those "CGA/EGA/Arcade" scaler boards you can get for about $40 (like this but without the YUV inputs) hooked up to the RGB output of my IIgs, and the GS-OS desktop looks pretty bad, at least on a 1280x1024 LCD. (I haven't explored much in the way of GS-specific games yet, although Arkanoid looked okay. 8 bit Apple II stuff likewise looks fine.) I imagine it's some sort of scaling artifact, but I do sort of wish I had a more apropos monitor myself. (The RGB scaler is still a vast improvement over composite, which is incredibly terrible for IIgs programs. Again, Apple II programs look okay..)

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Eudimorphodon wrote:
javster wrote:

the monitors work flawless on Apple IIc and IIe, but the gs displays very bad, sometimes flickering, wrong colors, etc. mostly on gs stuff, Apple II programs (like Karateka) shows fine.

I have one of those "CGA/EGA/Arcade" scaler boards you can get for about $40 (like this but without the YUV inputs) hooked up to the RGB output of my IIgs, and the GS-OS desktop looks pretty bad, at least on a 1280x1024 LCD. (I haven't explored much in the way of GS-specific games yet, although Arkanoid looked okay. 8 bit Apple II stuff likewise looks fine.) I imagine it's some sort of scaling artifact, but I do sort of wish I had a more apropos monitor myself. (The RGB scaler is still a vast improvement over composite, which is incredibly terrible for IIgs programs. Again, Apple II programs look okay..)

I have a Clone ( Re-Branding?? ) of the JAMMA Board. Here is the testing I did with DOS 3.3 and Beagle Graphics:
The Apple ][gs and the SainSmart GBS-8220 RGB/CGA/EGA/YUV to VGA Arcade HD Video Converter Board

I guess I should try GEOS 6.0.1 and see how it looks..

MarkO

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Quote:

I guess I should try GEOS 6.0.1 and see how it looks..

Good luck with that. Tongue

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

sfahey wrote:
Quote:

I guess I should try GEOS 6.0.1 and see how it looks..

Good luck with that. Tongue

Now your making me feel nervous.....

The biggest issue is that I only have ROM-01 boards, and 1MB memory cards...

I wonder if GEOS will boot with 1.25MB??

MarkO

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Well, Unisdisk should start its journey to me on Monday. The RAM expansion is on my shopping list but have to raise some funds for it. In the meantime I have to make do with the 256 kB that I have. What is the biggest version of GSOS that'll run on standard IIGS? Does Vince Briel's RAM expansion take any other size of SIMMs than 1MB as I have two 256 kB and two that I suspect to be 1 MB?

I'm planning to make a 32 MB image with CiderPress for Unisdisk containing GSOS and other programs. I take that I have to create a bootable ProDOS image? Is it possible to create directories within the image? If I put GSOS on to the image, where should it reside?

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I don't think GSOS will run with less than 1MB. For the images, I would just download the ones from http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/, they are great and prearranged.
Cheers
Javster

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Quote:

Now your making me feel nervous.....

I was kidding. I think you meant to type GSOS, but you used GEOS instead.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

sfahey wrote:
Quote:

Now your making me feel nervous.....

I was kidding. I think you meant to type GSOS, but you used GEOS instead.

Your right... Too Many OLD Computer OS's running around in my head...

I bet the Appel ][ version of GEOS will boot fine... Smile

MarkO

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

javster wrote:

I don't think GSOS will run with less than 1MB. For the images, I would just download the ones from http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/, they are great and prearranged.
Cheers
Javster

Thanks for the link. System 1.0 appears to work on a plain vanilla IGS.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

If you can lay your hands on a Localtalk->Ethernet bridge (they were quite common for a while, particularly the simple little Appletalk-only ones intended for printer sharing) A2SERVER is an excellent bundle of software that will let you boot and play with GS/OS on a IIgs without a hard drive, or even a floppy. Since I had the hardware for it I used it to bootstrap up my IIgs instead of via ADTPro, and while a bit sluggish it works fine to run GS/OS 6.x on my ROM1 with 1.25MB.

If I were to really get into the system I think I'd still like a dedicated device (strongly considering the "Unisdisk" since it apparently also can emulate a couple 5 1/4" drives; the only floppy drive I have is a single 800k unit shared with my Fat Mac and I'd like to run some "booters" only available in the 140k format) but if you have a chance to get one of those bridges and are competent enough with Linux to get the server going (it's not hard) I totally recommend it.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I am in the same situation.. just got an Apple IIGS and really know nothing about it. I just ordered the Unisdisk since the CFA3000 was not available but can not find much information on it.

Are there any discussions on this hardware (how to use, configure, etc) for the novice?

Can I install and boot to GSOS to run any program? I really have no idea.. Smile

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I started out on my IIgs with a couple floppy drives and a serial-null modem cable. You really don't need GS/OS to start out. The machine will run (to the best of my knowledge) pretty much any Apple II software which of course doesn't require GS/OS.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Just got my UnisDisk yesterday. It now boots. Smile It came with SD card, preloaded with GSOS 6.0.1 and ProDos 3.3. GSOS 6.0.1 didn't of course boot as I'm still short of RAM. I put GSOS 1.2 on the card. That shows ProDos 16 briefly before the screen just goes blank. That may be a display issue again, or then I just didn't wait long enough. Smile Have to try with RGB later, when I get the cable done.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

Just placed an order for 4MegGS without RAM. Have to see how my mixed bag of SIMMs will work with it. I know I have two 256 kB ones and the other two I suspect to be 1MB.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I received the 4MegGS today. I had got hold of four 1MB SIMM modules. They're not the 9 chip type but three chip ones.

The control panel shows that I have 4,25 MB or thereabouts of free RAM. It's just that the only thing that properly loads is ProDos 3.3. Neither GSOS 1 or 6.0.1 loads. GSOS 1 will give error messages and 6.0.1 will fill the progress bar but stop there. Without 4 MegGS, GSOS 1 will load ok and 6.0.1 of course will not load due to insufficient memory.

When the 6.0.1 progress bar is shown, I hear the same kind of ding as immediately after boot. Does this mean that an error occurs?

I'm using UnisDisk as my mass memory and the images are of 2MG or PO type. Has anyone else had success with 3 chip SIMM modules?

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

protek wrote:

When the 6.0.1 progress bar is shown, I hear the same kind of ding as immediately after boot. Does this mean that an error occurs?

Yes. It's crashing.

Try a self-test. Hold down Open-Apple and Option on power up, or Open-Apple, Option, and Reset. There are other, more through memory tests if this one passes.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I was in talks with Vince. He said that the memory needs to be the ones with 9 chips. Just bought a set from eBay. In the meantime, I'll run diagnostics on memory.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I got the SIMMs that fit the bill and got GSOS 6.0.1 to load. It's a tad slow process with UniSDisk but it'll get my by until I've gathered funds for a proper hard disk solution.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I've been playing with Ultimate Apple 2's A2Pi, a small board that lets you install a Raspberry Pi into a slot in your Apple //, along with a boot diskette containing drivers that connect the Apple's physical keyboard, mouse, and drives to the GSPort emulator running on the Pi.

The only clunky part is that the GS emulator video out is via the Raspberry Pi; but on the flip side, you can connect and use a modern, inexpensive HDMI-capable flat panel monitor.

I haven't had a chance to do a lot with it yet, but so far I'm pretty impressed. You can run the emulator at "unlimited" speed, which makes using GS/OS a lot more pleasant than it is at a pokey 2.8mHz. And even the old Rev A Raspberry Pi has 256MB of onboard memory, which is of course more than adequate to emulate a //gs with 8MB of memory.

If having a physical //gs isn't that big a deal for you, it's probably a lot cheaper to set up an A2Pi system-- as long as you have a spare Apple // to install it in. You can even buy it with a pre-configured SD card that comes with several emulators, A2Server, and some other fun stuff.

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

I managed to get an Apple 3.5 Drive some time ago. The drive itself seems to work but I can't use the Unisdisk daisy chained after that. It doesn't detect it behind the floppy drive.

I contacted Koichi and he told me that the daisy chaining of Unisdisk isn't possible. While I accept that I'm just wondering the whys and whatnots behind it. Is it that both units have the same number? I mean is the pass-through port in the 3.5 Drive just that, a pass-through? Is it possible to change the number for the 3.5 Drive?

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Re: Getting into Apple IIGS

There is a solution to your problem. You can buy a laser udc card that can recognize the 3.5 drive.